Events & Speakers

    Monday - Day 1 - October 21, 2019

    Special Events

    City of Duluth Tour (Monday morning)

    This 2-hour bus tour is sponsored by Visit Duluth, the city’s visitor and convention group. The tour will include a local tour guide and visit a number of city historical landmarks and attractions including the Skyline Drive and Enger Tower. Participation will be limited to a single bus, approximately 50 people. The bus will return to the hotels in time to explore Canal Park shopping and have lunch on their own.

    Duluth Harbor Tour (Monday afternoon)

    Boarding a Vista Fleet ship at the DECC, this water front narrated tour will put you close to all the action of the hardworking harbor, while telling you all there is to know about its workings, science and ecology. Participants will enjoy the panoramic views of the North Shore and the largest freshwater lake in North America. The ship will return to the DECC in time to get ready for the evening Celebrating Minnesota dinner and NAMSC fund raiser.

    Minnesota Welcome Dinner

    NAMSC Research & Education Fund Raiser

    The centerpiece of the evening will be Minnesota’s version of a Calcutta drawing. For every $50 cash donation on a Free Will basis, participants will receive one entry into the Calcutta drawing. A total of 98 entries will be available before the drawing. We will begin by randomly drawing balls and giving away prizes in front of the live audience. (The number of such prizes will depend on availability of donated items.) The first 90 balls drawn will be eliminated from winning the $1,000 grand prize. When only 8 balls remain in play, the remaining 8 participants will be asked to come forward for the top 10 drawing. At that point we will also have a live auction for ball numbers 99 and 100. The winners of 99 and 100 are the last two participants in the top 10. As the drawing continues, the top 10 will be asked if they would like to split the grand prize, or continue to draw for a winner. If one person says to keep drawing, the drawing will continue. Participants in the top 10 are also welcome to sell their ball to someone else at any time.

    Net proceeds from the evening’s raffles and drawing will be donated to the NAMSC Research and Education Fund.

    Tuesday - Day 2 - October 22, 2019


    Tuesday, October 22, 2019, 11:00 – 11:45 AM
    NAMSC Key Note Speaker:  Joseph Orefice, Ph.D., Director of Forest & Agricultural Operations, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University
      “Silviculture, and why it belongs in a sugarbush”

    Tuesday, October 22, 2019, Noon – 1:00 PM
    Luncheon Speaker:  Thom Holten
      "Shipwreck History in the Twin Ports"

    Tuesday, October 22, 2019, 2:45 – 3:30 PM
    IMSI Key Note Speaker:  Dr. Navrinda Seeram, U of Rhode Island
      "Maple Nutrition and Health Benefits Research Update"

    Special Event

    Duluth Curling Club Reception and Mixer (Tuesday afternoon)

    The Duluth Curling Club (DCC) is located in the DECC and includes 8 sheets of curling ice. The DCC is the home ice of the Olympic Curling Men’s Gold Medal Team skipped by local curler John Shuster.

    Our time at the Club will be from 4:00 – 5:30 PM. Our mixer will be in their observation level where we will be able to watch regular league curling competition on the ice below. The facility will have a cash bar and snacks/munchies will be provided.

    From the DECC, participants will have multiple choices for dinner on their own within easy walking distance in the Canal Park commercial area.

    Wednesday - Day 3 - October 23, 2019

    Special Event

    Cirrus Aircraft Plant Tour (Wednesday afternoon)

    Duluth is the headquarters and assembly plant of Cirrus Aircraft, founded by brothers Alan and Dale Klapmeier in 1983. In 1998 Cirrus became a game changer in the world of general aviation with the introduction of its model SR20, equipped with its Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS).

    The tour is limited to 25 participants. The plant tour is only offered on Wednesday afternoons, thus participants will need to choose between this activity and the technical sessions. Departure from the hotels at 11:00 AM (includes lunch) and returns around 3:00 PM.

    Technical Sessions Summary

    Jim AdamskiCDL Wisconsin / Roth Sugarbush; Cadott (WI);

    Summary:  This presentation is designed for the beginning maple syrup producer and will provide an overview of the entire syrup making process from selecting trees to bottling syrup. Topics covered will be which trees to tap, tree ID, how to tap, how many taps per tree, collecting sap, processing sap into syrup, and bottling. This presentation will last for two periods.

    Mark CannellaUniversity of Vermont Extension, University of Vermont Proctor Maple Research Center, Underhill (VT);

    Summary:  This presentation will include maple financial benchmark research, regional trends observed from a northeast maple business survey and an introduction to new maple business resources now available to producers. UVM Extension has been conducting the Maple Benchmark project since 2013. Cannella will share average cost of production figures for producers from 3,000 – 20,000 taps and discuss the business factors influencing profitability. UVM is conducting a northeast maple business survey in the summer of 2019 and preliminary results on production, marketing and key business factors will be discussed. Finally, this presentation will include an overview of new legal templates and business planning resources available to US maple producers.

    Ben CarlsonMN Maple Syrup Producers & The Nature Conservancy;

    Chainsaws are a common tool in the sugarbush.  Like all tools, proper maintenance and use of your chainsaw is necessary for safe and efficient operation.  This presentation will discuss what needs to be done to care for your chainsaw as well as tips on how to properly fell and buck trees.

    Stephen ChildsNY State Maple Specialist, Cornell University, Ithaca (NY);

    Summary:  This presentation will feature maple research conducted by the Cornell Maple Program over the last couple of years. Topics will include taphole sanitation, identifying the yield loss issues of 3/16” tubing, ropy syrup, syrup flavor as influenced by sap oxygen levels, improving quality and efficiency of traditional maple value added products, development of other maple value added products and our attempts at enhancing maple regeneration

    Dr. Gary Graham (Ohio State University Extension, Extension Specialist Maple Syrup Production and Holmes County Extension Educator) & Mr. Henry Marckres (Maple Grading and Training Consultant, The Sugarman of Vermont & Retired Chief of Consumer Protection Programs, Vermont Department of Agriculture, Food and Markets)

    Summary:  Hydrometers are a critical tool for every sugarmaker. Hydrometers can read incorrectly leading to lost sugar and income from your efforts. Setting the finishing density improperly can lead to moldy or fermented syrup to sugar crystals in your containers. Any of these situations are unpleasant to find and could lead to lost customers. This talk will cover the tools/materials and protocols of developing a hydrometer testing program within your State/Province to assist your producers. A simple practice to undertake that assures your producers start the season using an accurate tool.

    Kathy Hopkins, University of Maine, Extension

    How does one grade for flavor?  What makes a “good” syrup versus a “bad” syrup?  This is an opportunity for you to taste the good, the bad, and the ugly!

    Mark IsselhardtUniversity of Vermont Extension, University of Vermont Proctor Maple Research Center, Underhill (VT);

    Summary:  Anyone who has tapped trees knows that new holes must be drilled each year, but why? How does staining help a tree survive injury? What is the impact on sap production when you tap into an old wound? Tubing systems have helped producers significantly increase yields while significantly decreasing labor costs. One negative of having all trees sap combined in one system is that it is almost impossible to know how much sap is collected from an individual tree. This matters since its generally know that hitting stained wood reduces sap production but by how much? This presentation will cover two years of sap yield data from individual trees with clean tap holes versus holes that hit stained wood. The presentation will also cover the basic physiology of how trees compartmentalize wounds such as tap holes and provide sugar makers with suggestions of how to avoid significant loss in production through tapping practices and good forest management.

    Jason LilleyUniversity of Maine Cooperative Extension

    Summary:  Maple sugaring is rewarding work, often involving working beside family members, neighbors and friends. At the same time, there are several dangerous aspects of the industry that put you and your crews at risk. Taking time to identify those risks, develop plans to mitigate them, and ensuring that everyone involved in the operation is aware of them (training) are important steps towards risk reduction. In this talk, we will identify risks in the sugaring operation, tips for preventing accidents, and how to develop emergency preparedness plans. Specific topics include fire prevention and hazards, chemical use and storage, sugarbush safety, ergonomics, and more.

    Martin PelletierCentre ACER, St-Norbert d’Arthabaska (Québec);

    Summary:  Sometimes, maple syrup can have a taste defect known as “buddy”. This taste defect greatly decreases its commercial value even though the nutritional value and purity of the product is still good. In Quebec, some producers have seen up to half their crop classified as buddy; this has lead some of those producers to near bankruptcy. In this context, center acer has been tasked to study the buddy defect under many different angles. The presentation will brush an overview of the different results that have been found during those researches, many of which appear in scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals. We will talk about the chemical characterization of the defect and what generates the production of buddy maple syrup. We will also discuss the remediation techniques that can be applied to minimize buddy maple syrup and we will conclude by an explanation of why we do not encourage any prevention techniques at this time.

    Dr. Tim PerkinsUniversity of Vermont Proctor Maple Research Center, Underhill (VT);

    Summary:  The University of Vermont Proctor Maple Research Center is engaged in a number of projects examining sap yields and tapping sustainability, as well as methods of efficiently processing of sap into maple syrup. This presentation will briefly outline and update the findings of several of those projects, as well as provide information on current and planned outreach efforts.

    Douglas L. Reilly
    The Bosworth Company, East Providence (RI)

    Summary: This talk will focus on the use of Bosworth Guzzler diaphragm pumps for creating vacuum for maple sap collection at small sugarbushes (up to 1000 taps), and introduce the use of the SapCheck cellular-based remote monitoring and control system for small sugarbush operations.

    Diaphragm pumps offer several advantages for maple sap collection, and it is helpful to understand how they work in order to appreciate these benefits.  For example, by their nature, diaphragm pumps can run “wet or dry”; consequently, they do not require the added expense or complication of a releaser in the vacuum system.  We will review the “first principles” of how Guzzler diaphragm pumps work, showing how their capabilities derive from their design and operation, including the possible vacuum levels that they can achieve and the throughput or capacity they are able to deliver. 

    Guzzler diaphragm pumps also have some important limitations.  We will discuss such issues as the effect of ice on the pump, diaphragm lifetime and the ability of the pump to maintain vacuum in the presence of leaks.  We will review some of the ways to mitigate the effect of these issues, as well as “best practices” used to get the best possible vacuum out of the pump.

    Introduced for the 2019 sap season, the SapCheck cellular-based remote monitoring and control system provides an effective and affordable means of remotely monitoring and controlling vacuum operations at a sugarbush without requiring an Internet connection.  Using simple SMS-based text communication, SapCheck provides real-time alerts for loss of vacuum and for sap collection level, as well as the ability to remotely start/stop a vacuum pump, or auto-start based on temperature thresholds.

    The use of Guzzler diaphragm pumps and SapCheck provides a cost-effective means of deploying vacuum at small sugarbushes in combination with the benefits of remote monitoring.

    Abby van den BergUniversity of Vermont Proctor Maple Research Center, Underhill (VT);

    Summary:  The predominant defoamers currently available for use in organic maple production are certified organic cooking oils. However, because these products aren’t engineered to prevent, control, or reduce foam, they have relatively low efficacy. This not only results in increased difficulty in preventing or controlling foam, but also requires that large quantities are used to control foam effectively, resulting in frequent occurrences of defoamer off-flavors. Laboratory experiments identified a commercially available organic defoamer with increased foam control efficacy in maple processing relative to standard organic vegetable oils. Controlled experiments in commercial-scale maple equipment and accompanying sensory experiments were subsequently conducted to determine if this candidate organic defoamer was significantly more effective at controlling foam and resulted in less frequent defoamer off-flavor than standard organic vegetable oil under actual maple processing conditions. Results of this research will be presented.

    Aaron WightmanCornell Maple Program, Cornell University Department of Natural Resources

    Summary:  As the maple industry continues to grow, the Cornell Maple Program works to develop new value-added maple products. Work in this area includes product formulation, sensory evaluations, certified processes, regulatory guidance and market analysis. This presentation will discuss recent work with maple based sports gel, wine, soda and kombucha.

    Sarah Gainey, Kyle Rauch & Stephen SaupeSaint John’s Maple Syrup, College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University, Collegeville (MN);,,

    Summary:  Every year, the Saint John’s Maple Syrup Operation provide maple-related programming for approximately 1,500 students from preK to post-college. This presentation will feature some of the activities we do in our sugarbush.

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